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Read Psalm 17

A prayer of David.

Hear me, Lord, my plea is just;
    listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—
    it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from you;
    may your eyes see what is right.

Though you probe my heart,
    though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
    my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
    I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
    through what your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to your paths;
    my feet have not stumbled.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
    from my mortal enemies who surround me.

10 They close up their callous hearts,
    and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
    with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
    like a fierce lion crouching in cover.

13 Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
14 By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
    from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
    may their children gorge themselves on it,
    and may there be leftovers for their little ones.

15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
    when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Go Deeper

In this psalm we find David pleading his innocence before God, begging for protection from the enemies that have surrounded him and want to destroy him. He says, “They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a fierce lion crouching in cover.” David clearly feels the reality of this attack and its impending nature. 

If we’re honest, it’s sometimes difficult to relate to psalms like this in the Bible. David was on the run from literal enemies who were seeking to end his life. None of us have enemies like this. We may have a workplace rival or a “frenemy” or someone who cut us off in traffic, but for the most part, we don’t have a physical enemy like David did. How do we even apply these psalms to our lives? Scripture tells us that we do have an Enemy who, just like David’s enemies, “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”(1 Peter 5:8) Our enemy may not be physically surrounding us, but he is present and he is active and he is out for our destruction.

Our disadvantage is the fact that we can’t see our enemy the way David could see his. In this psalm David is literally running for his life, hiding, taking cover from his enemy. We are the opposite. We don’t see a physical enemy right in front of us, so therefore, we don’t run, or even walk briskly away from the one who is out to get us. Unfortunately, being unaware of our enemy’s presence and turning a blind eye to his schemes, doesn’t make him any less destructive in our lives. Ignorance isn’t bliss. Instead, ignoring the reality that we are in a battle for our souls gives the enemy a foothold in our lives (Eph 4:27). 

But don’t be afraid. Like we see David do in this Psalm, we can call out to God to deliver us. And He will save us with His right hand, give us refuge from our enemy, keep us as the apple of His eye, and hide us in the shadow of His wings. And, one day, when our battle here on earth is finally done, we will awake fully satisfied in His presence.

Questions

  1. How often do you think about the fact that you are in a battle for your soul? Why are we so oblivious to Satan’s attacks in our life?
  2. How are we supposed to fight back against the enemy? What are our weapons? 
  3. How have you seen God deliver you from the enemy’s attacks in your life? Is there an area in your life where you need Him to deliver you now?

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5 thoughts on “Psalm 17”

  1. Keeping the awareness of today’s evils poses a real challenge with the way we have become so desensitized to the presence of it all around us. It is woven into tv shows, music, electronic games, books, songs, and advertising. The lure of owning the next, latest, greatest thing or accepting that which we know is wrong, but are being deceived to think it is ok. Our enemy is making the veil darker and darker, but Jesus Christ’s light is stronger and can shine through. We need to help it shine in our reflections to the world.

  2. Now more than ever in my lifetime I truly feel we are in a great spiritual battle for our souls. Evil lurks at every turn and can honestly feel crushing. Like David, we must come before the Lord to test our hearts. Are we seeking to live pure lives in the midst of perversity, or are we complacent and giving up? We can learn much from David’s attitude toward his enemies:
    *He brought his earnest pleas to the Father.
    *He asked God to examine his heart.
    *He rested securely on who he was in God.
    *He was confident his petitions were heard.
    *He knew protection & refuge & saving was in the Father’s hand, the battle truly belonged to the Lord.
    *He was deeply satisfied with the Lord’s presence.
    I’m finding the Lord’s Prayer to be the perfect expression of my heart today: “Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen”

  3. Mollie Deaconson

    I am reminded of Ephesians 6:10-18 to put on the full armor of God to stand against the schemes of the devil. While the enemy is constantly at work against us, we can find what we need in Jesus to withstand his schemes.

  4. Alisha d Griffin

    Ephesians 6:10–18. Let us put on the:
    Belt of Truth.
    Breastplate of Righteousness.
    Gospel of Peace.
    Shield of Faith.
    Helmet of Salvation.
    Sword of the Spirit.

    We have all of these to fight the invisible enemy in which we must choose to “put on” every day.

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